A Whale of an Argument

Have you heard the argument against the existence of God based on the size of the universe? You might find it strange that an argument against God would be constructed based on the enormity of space — something that elicits awe and wonder. But it is and it goes like this:

You see how big the universe is. It is over a hundred billion light years across. It contains billions of galaxies with millions of stars. And here we sit on planet Earth, circling around an insignificant and ordinary star on one spiral arm of an average galaxy. Yet Christians claim that the entire universe was created just so Earth would exist and they would exist. Limited and parochial in their vision, they even claim that this planet is so special to the Creator of the universe that it has a received a visit from Him.

Let’s talk for a minute about Blue Whales. The Blue Whale is the largest animal on earth, now or ever. It is over 100 feet long and weighs nearly 200 tons. Its tongue alone is nearly 3 tons and its heart weighs over 1300 pounds. Now a human being, which is a much smaller organism, contains 10s of trillions of cells. So just imagine for a moment, how many cells exist in the body of a Blue Whale. Many hundreds of trillions, even quadrillions, of cells. Really.

Now what is the most important cell in the body of the Blue Whale? Well, according to evolutionary biology, this is very simple to answer – it is a germ cell. If your whale is a female, it is one of her eggs; if male, it is one of his sperm cells. You see, according to evolutionary biology, the entire body of the whale, with all of its quadrillions of cells, exists for one purpose and that is to generate and effectively disperse (if male) its germ cells.

Now imagine for moment that the germ cell of a Blue Whale could talk and it said, “I know I look small. I know that that organ system to which I belong seems peripheral tucked down here in the bottom side of this huge beast. It doesn’t even contribute to the survival of this individual. But I’m telling you, I am what it is all about. All the other quadrillions of cells, all the other organ systems, exist only so that I might exist. They all serve me. I am what really matters here.”

Now your evolutionary biologist would agree. He wouldn’t say to the germ cell, “How self-centered and parochial you are.” Because he knows it is true. He knows that it would be silly to argue on the basis of relative size, because that has nothing to do with it. He knows that what matters here is not size, not position, but the function that the germ cell carries out – the continuation of the species.

Now if this Earth is the place, and this Solar System is the system, and this Galaxy happens to be, where the germ of life exists, then there is nothing parochial about saying that everything else  — yes, even everything else in the universe — is here for the generation of the Children of God.

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  • Joe DeVet

    I heard a different argument a few years back from an Anglican priest who is also a physicist and an Oxford don. The question he addressed was just about the same: Does it make sense that the universe is so huge, and so old, if all creation was for the sake of us (who have arrived here at the 59th minute of the 11th hour)?

    About the age of the universe. It takes several generations of supernovae to create an adequate concentration of the heavier elements necessary for life. It takes several billion years to allow for the several generations of supernova explosions to have time to take place. Thus, the estimated 13.7 billion years of the universe’s existence can be seen as the natural preparatory time for human life.

    About the universe’s size. To last this long and to develop as it has, the universe must be about the size it is. Otherwise it would have collapsed on itself or become impossibly diffuse for the organization of life to occur. In this way the age and size of the universe are connected. It was estimated that a universe just 1/2 the size it is might not have been big enough to ultimately produce life!

    This does not prove anything about the teleology of creation, but it at least answers the “reasonableness” question.

    The size and age of the universe are far beyond our comprehension, and it is fatuous to try to draw conclusions from something so beyond our ken. We’re reminded of the passage in the psalm–a thousand years in the sight of God are no more than a watch in the night.

  • http://www.cybercatholics.com Joshua R. LeBlanc

    Excellent analogy. I’ve been dealing with atheists lately and the more and more I speak with these particular individuals I find how illogical they are and how circular their attempts at logic are. I blame all of this on the abandonment of classic philosophical studies in favor of modernism.

  • elkabrikir

    How fearfully, wonderfullly we were made!

    Truly, pondering the known universe reaffirms why reason feeds my faith. Pondering the mysterious, unknown universe drives my faith to search for truth and beauty.

    Thanks Mary and Joe

  • Warren Jewell

    Well constructed analogy and argument, dear lady.

    Some reputable scientists find that the growth in learning about nature has resulted in defining tighter and stricter limits to the areas of the universe that can support life that could get to the intelligence and morality of humanity. One book I read – can’t place it, now – had a list of a minimum of sixty-five physical natural laws that not only pin-point more and more to the ‘pebble’ we live on and our peculiarity as God-imaged creatures, but to the Great Designer-Creator of it all. Too many ‘scientists’ seem to have vested their interests in little more than covering their ears and sing-songing ‘Naa-naa-naa-naa!’ in the face of such evidence.

    In humble honesty, the more we know, indeed, the less we suspect that we know, and it is pathetic to believe otherwise.

  • http://www.catholic-perspective.com Catholic Chump

    Mary,
    You could still argue that maybe we are not the only creation the lord had created. We have the holy bible to direct us here on earth. We do know it does not tell us everything only after this life we will have better understanding. If we are not the only creation the lord made… Could our lord make a book focused on the rules of this planet specifically meant for us? The next question is if there is other lifeforms that possess our intellect or superior to that don’t you think our lord is so awesome to provide them with a book that is a testimony to their own society, illustrating the same points we have in our own?
    Again anyone can present a argument… no facts from either party == FAITH. I rather have faith in GOD than to believe in nothing…All we can do is pray…

  • saintstephen

    Has anyone ever noticed that all arguments against God are founded in the belief that God is unjust? There is not one atheist alive that does not believe that God is unjust then state that they do not believe in Him because He is not the God that they would want Him to be. Now that is a whale of a tale coming from the mouths of the unjust. Jonah spoke of the justice of God from the belly of a whale, or was it a very large fish? Anyway, God proved His justice when He forgave the entire city of Ninevah, then spared the life of Jonah who begged God to take his life from him. God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food. Amen

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